Sustainable Homer

Sponsored by Peg Belcastro

On these beautiful fall days we use any excuse to get away from our computer screen and our endless e-mails and enjoy the weather.  Wouldn’t it be great if a simple walk to the mailbox in the sun rewarded us with a letter from an old friend, like in the days before e-mail?  But the second you open your mailbox you are greeted instead with pounds and pounds of junk mail.  Literally an average of 41 pounds of junk mail a year!  That’s about 560 pieces or 11 pieces of unwanted mail every week.  All that unwanted junk getting sent all the way up here, so we can just turn around and dump it in our landfill?
In an article in Natural Home Magazine, Misty McNally states that the 62 billion pieces of unsolicited mail sent out in the United States will:
Consume more energy in production and disposal than 2.8 million cars
Require 100 million trees for paper
End up in the trash (44 percent never opened)
Waste time when you peruse or recycle mail
Cost you money if you succumb to purchasing things you don’t need.
There are ways to get out of the junk mail cycle.  One of the best ways is to go online to the Direct Marketing Association.  At you can click on “Consumer Information” and it will lead you to links for removing yourself from mailing lists, telemarketing lists, email lists and more.  The service costs a dollar for them to process your information, but it’s well worth it.  The DMA site will also lead you to other sites that offer free services for removing your name from lists such as mailings for pre-screened credit and insurance offers.  You can visit or call 1-888-5OptOut (1-888-567-8688) to opt-out of these offers. This service is offered by the major credit bureaus, so it should make a good dent in the junk in your box.
There are other, more “big picture” ways to slow the flow as well.  A movement to limit junk mail through legislation is promoting a system similar to the Do Not Call Registry. If you would like to know more about this or, other general ways to stop junk mail, visit  This site will give you even more options for organizations who will contact the direct mailers for you for a fee.  Some will even plant trees on your behalf.
With this taken care of, you can sit back and enjoy the fall colors, maybe even write a letter to a friend.

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Posted by on Oct 15th, 2008 and filed under Business. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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